Careers rarely develop the way we plan them. Our career path often takes many twists and turns, with particular events, choices and people influencing our direction.

We asked Nicola O'Higgins from Bord Iascaigh Mhara to give some advice for people considering this job:

Nicola O'Higgins


Bord Iascaigh Mhara

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Nicola O'Higgins
You need to work with people in the industry as knowledge is everything  - where to buy, who from, when etc. Health and safety courses and a pleasant manner and drive are also important.

Realists are usually interested in 'things' - such as buildings, mechanics, equipment, tools, electronics etc. Their primary focus is dealing with these - as in building, fixing, operating or designing them. Involvement in these areas leads to high manual skills, or a fine aptitude for practical design - as found in the various forms of engineering.

Realists like to find practical solutions to problems using tools, technology and skilled work. Realists usually prefer to be active in their work environment, often do most of their work alone, and enjoy taking decisive action with a minimum amount of discussion and paperwork.
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Careers in Construction

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Careers in Construction

Wednesday, May 17, 2017 

Careers in Construction

The construction industry has changed in the last two-three years. From a low point in 2012 when the industry employed just 98,000 people to a point where 1,000 people a month are joining the sector.

Over 140,000 people are now employed in the construction industry and the recent DKM Report, Construction Skills Demand to 2020 is predicting that the level of employment will rise by a further 112,000 people in the next three years.

Skilled people

Construction requires a diverse range of skills. The sector needs engineers, project managers, and trades people, semi-skilled and general operatives. There is growing demand for a huge variety of construction-related roles - from junior and senior quantity surveyors, to architects,  plasterers, bricklayers, electricians, plumbers and beyond. 

Exciting career opportunities

The future is good for young people who are seeking exciting career opportunities

Opportunities across the industry are widely available to young people. Second-level students and school leavers in particular, are urged to consider a career in construction

Many young people opt for college as the route to their chosen career, but that's not the only route to a career in construction.

The construction sector is the primary industry sector in Ireland for the employment of apprentices. At its height, construction employed almost 27,000 (92%) of apprentices. The number of new apprentices entering construction now needs to more than double by 2020 - it must rise from 1,700 to 4,000 by then, in order to deliver on housing and infrastructure requirements.

How do you become an apprentice?

  • You must be at least 16 years of age
  • You must have achieved certain minimum educational qualifications (a minimum of 5 grade D in the Junior Certificate or equivalent, or successfully complete an approved pre-apprenticeship course). Some employers specify higher educational qualifications - they may require a leaving certificate for an electrical or plumbing apprenticeship for example.
  • OR - be over 16 years of age and have at least three years’ relevant work experience approved by SOLAS.
  • Some apprenticeships require you to pass a colourvision test. 

Finding apprenticeship vacancies

To start an apprenticeship, you must first obtain employment as an apprentice in your chosen apprenticeship area, with an employer who is approved by SOLAS to train apprentices.

Last year, CIF launched - a dedicated website for the industry which aims to match interested apprentices with employers in the sector:


A list of recruitment websites and employers with links to their apprenticeship recruitment url is also available here.

Other sources of information for finding apprenticeship vacancies

  • Check with relatives, neighbours or friends who work in a construction-related area.
  • Research companies that might consider recruiting you as an apprentice.
  • Check with your local Department of Social Protection Employment Services / INTREO office
  • Check with training advisors in your local Education and Training Board (ETB) office.

The CareersPortal Team